To My Wife on Valentine’s Day

This is what I remember. It’s 1974, and we’re sitting in my Plymouth Duster in your driveway at the end of our date. I’ve got the Rolling Stones playing on my tape deck. It’s still early spring, and the night air is cool. Our breath is causing my car windows to fog up with condensation. Your house is dark, but the porch light burns above the front steps. The air has that earthy smell of wet grass and mud, and the Stones are singing “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”

We’ve been to the bowling alley, or the theater, or maybe we’ve just been for a drive with a stop at Veterans’ Point in Red Hills State Park. We’ve been coming to Veterans’ Point at the end of each date since our first one. This is our place. We’ve gone from our single first kiss to a bevy of kisses, some of them sweet and tender, and some of them more passionate. We’ve kissed with music playing on my tape deck. We’ve kissed to the love ballads of Bread, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, and we’ve kissed to the driving, sensual beat of Deep Purple, Black Oak Arkansas, and the Stones. We’ve kissed and kissed and kissed, and we’ve pressed our bodies together, hidden in the dark.

But now we’re in your driveway, and the Stones are playing and Mick Jagger is singing, promising us, “We could have fun just groovin’ around, around, and around, and oh, my, my.”

I imagine we’re both aware, without directly saying as much, that we know what groovin’ around is really referring to, and then you lay your hand on my thigh and lean close to sing into my ear, “Let’s spend the night together, now I need you more than ever,” and I feel what I’ll call a stirring, and I’ll admit I’m a little shaken because this is the first time a girl has been this bold with me—can you really be thinking about groovin’ in the way we know Mick Jagger means for us to think?

The smell of earth is all around us. The damp night is all around us. The bass of my tape deck is thumping and vibrating. The car windows are steaming over more and more as our breathing quickens.

Then the porch light flicks on and off several times.

“My mother,” you say, as you slide toward the passenger side door. Does one of us say, I love you, and does the other one answer, I love you, too? I only remember watching you step out of the car. “Call me,” you say, and I tell you I will. Then I watch you walk to your front door. I watch the sway of your hips. You’re beautiful as you step from the shadows into the glow from the porch light. Remembering it now, I see you stop, one hand holding open the screen door, while you turn to take a last look at me, a coy turn to your lips as if you know exactly what’s about to come.











  1. Angshuman Das on February 14, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    So simple and elegant and touching — a great read on Valentine’s Day.

    • Lee Martin on February 15, 2022 at 11:32 am

      Thank you so much. Sending you all good wishes.

  2. Virginia Chase Sutton on February 15, 2022 at 10:32 am

    Oh, lovely. What a romance. I felt I was watching the entire events (I don’t mean in a creepy way!). Such beautiful writing. And, of course, a tribute to youth with their passions and desires. A tribute to both you and Cathy—you really have a love story. True love.

    • Lee Martin on February 15, 2022 at 11:32 am

      Thanks so much, Virginia. Cathy and I feel very blessed.

Leave a Comment